Yes, We Can Have It All. Just Not All At Once

Gender roles have always been crucial in determining how men and women define success. Until now, that is. A recent global research study found that when it comes to successfully balancing our personal and professional lives men and women tend to believe that they can have it all, just not at the same time. The study zeroed in on how over 4,000 professionals around the globe defined success in their careers and personal lives. Spoiler alert: gender had much ado about nothing.

The gender role progression has worn many hats here in the US– the centuries old female road of meek and mild eventually spilled out into an open field of smart and sassy. Men have also seen their share of changes as evident in the number of men who now take the title of stay at home dad, which has more than doubled over the past 10 years.

When it comes to defining success, men and women are equally striving for work-life balance. More than half of all surveyed stated they turned down a job offer that favored one over the other. Shaping the work-life paradigm is technology, which serves as either a boon or bane to the warm and fuzzy feeling of success. By nature, technology is an open door that ushers work into our personal lives while at the same time allowing the scheduling flexibility that supports work-life balance.  

Interestingly enough, despite the relevance of work-life balance to the overall feeling of success most men and women are feeling pretty successful overall, according to a 2010 study published by the Academic and Business Research Institute. This is likely due to how we learn to define success in our early years. Ironically, the overwhelming majority of men and women surveyed learned the nature of success not from parents or friends, but from observing who they believed to be successful. Yes, that’s right. In true human fashion, we learn to define success before we define success. Makes sense, right? Of course, the definition of success changes as our life experiences grow. Being respected by family and friends and having a satisfying and meaningful job are also in the mix.

In conclusion, the role of gender in defining success may be steadily becoming a thing of nostalgia. When it comes to success men and women seem to draw a line between being successful and feeling successful. Those who cast a wider net over both areas are successful.